Saturday, March 26, 2005
1. Ann rightly observes that there's a long history of "belty" numbers in musicals. However, what's kind of a new development is the Act I finales of shows being big belty solo numbers. Most musicals reserve those numbers for the so called "11 o'clock" number, near the end of the show, but not quite there. In contrast, the Act I Finale has traditionally been a number for the full ensemble--witness numbers like "One Day More" from Les Mis, "La Vie Boheme" from Rent, and "Along Came Bialy" from The Producers, none of which focus on a single performer.
2. Brantley's smackdown is largely limited to female performers, an odd choice since this season is an uncommonly weak one for women's roles on Broadway--the season's two big hits thus far--Spamalot and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are completely male driven. However, the showy self-importance that Brantley condemns isn't limited to women--Nathan Lane in The Producers, Michael Crawford in Phantom, and the various Valjeans in Les Mis have all commited much the same sin (or at least are forced to by the music). Heck, this season, we're subjected to an "Idol"-ized Act I finale of "I Am What I Am" in the mediocre revival of La Cage. Aside from a brief mention of Scoundrels, none of these people make the list.
3. In particular, Brantley singles out three scores for bashing. One, I haven't seen (Brooklyn), but the excerpts I've heard and reviews I've read suggest he's right on the money about it. However, the entire score is apparently written in that fashion, a far more understandable choice than having one "belter" song.
That's the problem Little Women has. In its effort to find something, anything, for its talented star, Sutton Foster, to do besides exclaim "Christopher Columbus!," they throw in an Act I finale ("Astonishing") that has almost nothing to do with the rest of the score and that degenerates into being nothing more than "look at me! I am the STAR of this show!" The lyrics have almost nothing to do with the show or the plot, and the music is wholly different from the rest of the score--a far more subdued endeavor. The song feels as though it was lifted from another, completely different, show.
The third song he singles out to bash is the Act One finale of Wicked, "Defying Gravity." First, it must be noted that in a lot of ways, "Defying Gravity" is a traditional Act I Finale. While the song is primarily sung by one of the show's two leading ladies, a substantial part of it is a duet, and it closes with punctuation from the entire ensemble. Second, unlike "Astonishing," "Defying Gravity" fits into the plot, both musically and character-wise. The lyrics relate to and advance the plot, and the music makes sense--the character singing the song has reached a breaking point in her life--a departure--and the music reinforces that--soaring into a belt at the end of the first Elphaba verse--as does the staging. Wicked does have songs that might rightly be proclaimed as nothing more than "Look At Me!" songs (most notably "Popular"), but this isn't one of them.
All that said, Brantley does have a point--overly showy singing and shows have, in some cases, overtaken actual theatrical merit. I don't know how else to explain the continuing success of "Mamma Mia!," while better, but equally commercial, shows like "The Full Monty" and "Ragtime" have closed, and more challenging shows like "A Class Act" and "Caroline, Or Change" fail to survive more than a few performances.
Where else would you learn about U.G. Krishnamurti who offers, in the words of the rating service: "[N]o message for mankind . . . No gatherings, no lectures, no courses, no method, no mantras, no organization, no office, no secretary, no telephone number, no fax and no fixed address."
September 20, 1996
Today I had a Biggie. Usually I just have a small, and refill. Why pay more? But today I needed a Biggie inside me. Some days, I guess, are like that. Only a Biggie will do. You wake up and you know: today I will get a Biggie and I will put it inside me and I will feel better. One time I saw a guy with three Biggies at once. One wonders not about him but about what it is that holds us back.
Friday, March 25, 2005
In fact, the only false notes were in the trailers, which included "Herbie: Fully Loaded," which only deepens my despair over Michael Keaton's career, and "Roll Bounce," the upcoming movie about roller disco.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Baltimore Oriole Eric DuBose's explanation, however, bears noting:
The report states DuBose informed [the officer] he had 'a couple' drinks at the Cafe Gardens and Daiquiri Deck in Sarasota. When instructed to recite the alphabet, DuBose allegedly said, "I'm from Alabama, and they have a different alphabet."
Hot on the heels of Dobby's ouster from Survivor and this proposed legislation, however, it's a bad week in the heart of Dixie.
But what about Wendy's Chili? Do note from the second to last paragraph of that article, that "health inspectors assume the finger likely entered the food chain as a result of the manufacturing process." Insert "advanced meat retrieval" joke *here*.
Hyde Park McDonalds... step off!
How does it do it? Charlie insists that the methodology is sound. Tonight's four games:
Louisville Cardinals v. Washington Huskies: The pretty birds will be singing their swan song when faced with beefy, plus-sized youth. It's time for some exercise. Huskies.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers v. Illinois Fighting Illini: Never underestimate the power of an angry, warlike ethnic stereotype. Too bad for these jungle cats that they aren't playing the "Fleeing Frogs." Illini.
Texas Tech Red Raiders v. West Virginia Mountaineers: See above. Back to your stills, clay eaters. Red Raiders.
Arizona Wildcats v. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Herders with guns, felines red in tooth and claw. I say "yee-ha!" Cowboys.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Also, go Huskies.
Link via Pop Culture Junk Mail.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Adam was one of the only lawyers I ever worked with who was never motivated by money. He consistently put the quality of his legal output above all. Whether you consider him to be a jurisprudential genius on hold, a poster child for the misunderstood, or a narcissist, all of his actions are motivated by a pure desire to make every pleading count as a true reflection of his own high standards.
In a sea of legal mediocrity and generic advocacy processed into greatness by LEXIS, Adam achieved the American dream in law without compromising his integrity for the sake of fame or fortune. . . .
Seriously, how much of that $13 million did Axl spend on kissing this guy's ass?
Solid performances by the AI hairdressers and backup singers, Sully and Denise, the horse that threw Joyce around, Carrie Underwood, and, thank goodness, the return of Hey, Which Team's Coming In To Next-To-Last, Señor Phil? Could You Point In The Distance When They Show Up?
Mikalah's going home, unless Federov does, and each will have earned it. They're children in a competition with adults this year.
On the Race, it just felt very been there, done that on that Detour, and little strategery to be done. Just luck. Bring back the trickery!
updated: America voted, and now America gets to vote again? D'oh!
Thirty-two times she mentions said word in her column, which gained in current usage from its derogatory use in describing inter-prisoner relationships on HBO's "Oz", though perhaps used most powerfully in Ryan's welcoming to the O.C. and on "Chapelle's Show", when Wayne Brady's deciding who he's going to have to choke, as well as, of course, Rick James' greeting of choice.
Also, I think Kyle's mom is one. In D minor.
Monday, March 21, 2005
I'll be checking it out, even though the creator's credits include Britney Spears' "Crossroads" and the screenplay for "Princess Diaries 2." Given that the network alternatives are made for TV movie "Suzanne's Knockoff of 'The Notebook' For Nicholas," and "Crossing Jordan," I'd suggest that you may want to as well.
OK, we've seen what the experts think, now it's time for your reaction.
Bow wow yippee yo.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
And Sandra Bullock, if you're looking for your next role--I give you your source material--for some reason, the New York Times decided it would be funny to send Maureen Dowd on Spring Break to Cancun. We learn many important things, including Maureen Dowd's fixation on nachos, and, um, that Maureen Dowd finds herself supremely interesting. Dowd does at least have the good sense to make the obvious "Girls Gone Mild" joke in the headline.
Thankfully, it was the former. The sadness that permeates the episode is overwhelming; every remark by or about Najai Turpin carries with it the dread of knowing what becomes of him. It is, at times, simply unbearable to see him so clearly dependent on his two-year-old daughter for meaning, so visibly in need of that unconditional love and support. (I mean, his daughter is my daughter's age, living in this same city. It's heartbreaking.)
I wish the NBC website allowed for online donations to the trust in his daughter's name, and I just hope that those who knew Najai believe this episode did him justice. This poor, troubled soul.
By all means, yes, watch the episode.
The difference between those three is in 'The Godfather' trilogy. One is Alfredo, who's never ready for me to hand it over to him. One is Sonny, who will do whatever it takes to be the man. And one is Michael, who, if you watch the trilogy, the Godfather hands it over to Michael. So I have no problem handing it to Dwyane.
I'm trying to remember . . . how did Fredo and Sonny end up, anyway?
Via Information Nation.
Okay, what did they miss? My first nomination: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just a wonderfully ironic last note.